An Abusive Relationship with the Catholic Church

I have a difficult relationship. Parts of it make me feel wonderful. It expands my soul and truly acts like the greatest community I can be apart of. However, it also acts abusively. I feel hurt and it disregards my feelings. The Catholic Church hurts. Not just me, but the world. And instead of pointing the fingers at itself and its misogyny, it blames everything else. Pennsylvania continues the trend.

“It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord,” Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison wrote in a five-page letter to members of the diocese. “The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest.”

The decision to act on that inclination, Morlino wrote, “is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable.”

However, as a study done by John Jay College said, “Clergy who exhibited homosexual behavior were not significantly more likely to abuse minors than those who did not. Sexual identity is different, of course, from sexual behavior, and the study did not identify the sexual orientation of all the offenders. The report suggests that one reason the majority of victims were male may be that boys were more accessible to the predators than girls.”

I’ve written before about my time as an altar server, what the Catholic Church has meant to me, and how I have had bad experience here in Lexington. And it just keeps getting worse.

Pomp and Circumstance

When we visited Australia, the main purpose was to visit my great-uncle, a retired Catholic priest. He has always been one of my favorite people. And that relationship got me through a lot of problems I have had with the Catholic Church. He welcomed us and we could not have had a better time.

Some of my family continues to go to church and many of my friends as well. I want to go to church. Sitting in the pew to hear the stories of a man who loved and wanted to show grace makes me smile. You can feel the power of hearing a story that the entire world hears.

But I have a hard time seeing a purpose in going.

Condemnation is Bad; Dehumanization is Worst

Recently, the Pope urged parents to not condemn their LGBT children. That’s great. But it does not matter. The problem is much larger than families. Of course, studies show that how parents react to coming out truly informs the rest of the child’s life. Parents should always love their children for who they are. But you should also love every person you meet because of who they are.

If I walk into a Catholic Church, I cannot feel comfortable talking about my upcoming wedding, which the Church would not recognize. I fear the response if I mention my fiance. In the end, I can only be a peripheral member of the community. And for most of my life, I have felt a peripheral part of many components of life. I do not need that anymore.

I would love to walk into the nearby church and feel like I can join one of the groups or show up for Bible study. Even if every member of the church may not agree with my “lifestyle,” I know how to navigate  that.

How Dehumanization Equals Bullying

Bullying is not only taunting on a playground. It’s knowing that when you enter the world, people will mock you for who you are and who you want to be. No one should feel hopeless and unfortunately, like this 9 year old boy in Colorado, the treatment of LGBT children as something to understand instead of loving unconditionally, leads to the same feeling of hopelessness.

And I feel relatively hopeless in regards to the Catholic Church seeing how its actions affect its community. For an institution that cared more about how it treated child predator priests than for gay choir directors, you would think they would listen to the words of Jesus: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Based on the documents made public with the recent lawsuits, they did nothing for Him.

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